Navigating Senior Living Health Care is Easy at Trillium Woods

Trillium Woods senior living community is a Life Plan Community that offers the security of available health care coupled with freedom from day-to-day tasks that typically come with home ownership. Health and well-being are the first priority, and each resident at Trillium Woods has access to a Health and Wellness Navigator.

This partner in health care can answer health-related questions and work with other Trillium teams to set up a preventative health plan. The Navigator also can help residents secure medical appointments, handle paperwork and coordinate plans to return to the community should a hospital stay be required, and acts as a guide through residential living transitions should medical needs change.

Helping to Navigate Resident Health Care

Christine Maxwell is Trillium Woods’ Health and Wellness Navigator. Her job is multifaceted.

“I am here as a resource to the residents. I want to know, ‘how happy are you?’, ‘how secure do you feel?’ I handle everything from a hangnail to a knee replacement at the hospital – including helping you transition back home – to helping understand medical billing.”

Every day can be different for the Health and Wellness Navigator. Christine and other department staff meet weekly to identify those individuals who may need extra assistance.

“If they’ve had an illness, or we know they’ve had a death in the family, or something else is going on, we put them on our radar. The entire team keeps an eye on them – dining, fitness, overall wellness; everyone is involved.”

Christine also coordinates therapy and home care, helps residents who may need a change in their level of care, and gets to know each resident.

“One of the things I’ve been able to do from the beginning is establish trust. I guide residents through their concerns and needs and help them come to a realization on their own of what they need, rather than just telling them what I think they need,” Christine said.

“I rarely say, ‘You need to stop doing this.’ Rather, I ask leading questions such as, ‘How do you feel?’ or ‘I heard about something.’ Helping the resident own their wellness and be responsible for it, rather than dictating it. That is the key difference and what makes this program at Trillium Woods really successful.”

Every once in a while, subtle suggestions don’t work, and family has to become involved. “We are fortunate at Trillium that our population is quite young. We don’t have a lot of frail people. This is truly a model where more than 90 percent of our residents are here because they’ve chosen to be. They’ve made that decision on their own,” shares Christine.

When Changes Occur

Christine shares that residents at Trillium Woods are conscious of their future health and they want to have the best life they can. “Transitions of care are never easy. I tell people that if they truly want to be independent, they have to take ownership of what’s next. I remind them that yes, there’s more help involved here, but you can self-direct it. You can be in charge of it. That seems to be an effective way.”

Christine’s goal with every resident is to keep them independent as long as possible. “But if they are not able to be independent, we try to explore and celebrate what they have,” explained Christine. “Whenever you take things away from people there’s a negative impact. If you celebrate what they have, and what they can still do, you’re going to be more successful.”

Uniquely Trillium Woods

“The thing that probably makes Trillium Woods unique is we’ve identified a point person – the Navigator – and everything funnels through the Navigator. So, while in some communities you may not know who to talk to first, at Trillium that is crystal clear from the time you move in.”

Trillium Woods’ uniqueness, according to Christine, comes from bringing a variety of roles under one umbrella.

“All communities strive to accomplish this – to try to have people in various positions to answers all the questions. But in most communities, it’s very fragmented. Residents here have embraced the Navigator role.”

Christine adds that Trillium is more of a community environment than many senior communities.

“Even over the weekends when I’m not here, there are people who have appointed themselves to make sure I don’t walk in on Monday morning to find out several people have gone to the hospital – I have a heads up on it. Often people in senior living tend to live in silos, whereas our residents are extremely concerned about their neighbors. They are a wonderful bunch of residents.”

Called to Help

“I love what I do. I feel very blessed. This is not as much of a job as it is a calling. My real strength is when I’ve met someone’s needs – alleviated a fear, explained something fundamental that they were struggling with.”

Christine offers up her cell phone number to residents and encourages them to call her, even at night and on the weekends. “Knowing they have that accessibility to me is so helpful. Instead of waiting until morning or the start of the week, which leaves a situation to fester, I just get it handled when it happens.”

There’s a genuine bond that’s been established between Christine and Trillium Woods residents, for which she says she is truly grateful. “After years in the business, and a lot of listening, you really do get to a point where you just want to help people. At the end of the day, that’s what drives me.”

To find out more about how Trillium Woods senior living community can help guide you or a loved one through a healthy and vibrant senior life, get in touch with us at (763) 553-7600.